Superman Stalled: Riders Stranded 150 Feet in Air When Roller Coaster Gets Stuck

Twelve thrill-seekers were left in the air for nearly two hours when their roller coaster froze at its highest point.

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Chris Riley / Times-Herald / AP

Passengers sit stuck over 150 feet in the air on the top of the new Superman Ultimate Flight roller coaster at Six Flags Discovery Kingdom in Vallejo, Calif., on Sunday, July 29, 2012.

Sometimes Superman is faster than a speeding bullet. Other times he stalls 150 feet above the ground.

Twelve thrill-seekers were left in the air for nearly two hours on Sunday after a brand-new roller coaster at Six Flags Discovery Kingdom in Vallejo, California stalled mid-ride. But after a day of investigations, park officials told the Associated Press there are no mechanical problems with the Superman Ultimate Flight ride, so the cause of the stoppage remains unknown.

“Everyone is in agreement we have to determine what the issue is before it goes back into operation,” Dean Fryer, a spokesperson for the California Division of Occupational Safety and Health told the San Francisco Chronicle. “There’s still a bit of work to be done here.”

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On Sunday afternoon, one of the Superman cars stalled right at the ride’s zenith — just before the track’s descent into a series of barrel rolls which the theme park touts as “the tallest inversion west of the Mississippi.” And even as crews on Monday ran diagnostic checks that confirmed the machine was sound, one park official had a unique take on the malfunction. “Up there [at the zenith], at that point, gravity takes over and does its job,” Charles Laureano, the park’s ride operations manager, told the Chronicle. “In this case, it’s possible gravity stopped working for us.”

Whatever the cause, no one was injured. After the park used its state-required standby crane to deliver water to the victims, a mechanic was able to start up the ride in reverse and the riders were lowered to safety, according to the Vallejo Times-Herald.

This incident is not the first time that costumers have been less-than-thrilled by a Six Flags ride: for a truly frightening read, click over to this Wikipedia page.

The Chronicle reports that Superman had been Discovery Kingdom’s most popular ride, drawing upwards of 4,000 riders each day.

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4 comments
RobertSF
RobertSF

At least they weren't left hanging upside down. That would have been pretty bad.

Amos Feinburg
Amos Feinburg

Never underestimate a good mechanic. While all the suits were running around, talking on cell phones it was a mechanic who came up with the solution. This was done in the first 20 minutes, it took the next hour and a half for the lawyers, engineers and suits to come up with a way to take the credit. 

NextPrez
NextPrez

It was the weight of the 12 individuals which balanced out the gravity at that point.